3rd-party candidates gain momentum in response to Trump and Clinton

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Polls Show More Americans Are Leaning Toward Third-Party Candidates

In all likelihood, the next president of the United States will be the least popular candidate ever to be elected as commander in chief -- but an increasing number of voters are searching for alternatives.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have had campaigns marked by scandals and gaffes, and voters don't seem too keen on picking either one of them.

SEE MORE: Clinton, Trump, A Gorilla? What A Unique Question Tells Us About Polls

FiveThirtyEight reported that Clinton would have been the least-liked party nominee in modern history if it weren't for Trump.

A RealClearPolitics poll shows that third-party candidates are the preferred option of nearly 10 percent of those surveyed.

Former New Mexico governor and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is the most popular third-party option, drawing an average of 7 percent of voters. That's a pretty significant bump up from his 4.5 percent mark at the beginning of June.

RELATED: See Johnson through the years

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Gary Johnson through the years
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Gary Johnson through the years
UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Gov. Gary Johnson, former Governor of NM, speaks at the American Conservative Union's CPAC conference at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., on Thursday, March 3, 2016. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 26: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson pretends to have a heart attack on stage while arguing in favor of legalization of marijuana during CPAC in National Harbor, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Former Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle, R-N.Y., not pictured, had just argued during their debate that marijuana caused an increased risk of heart attacks. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on September 22, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. The debate featured the nine Republican candidates two days before the Florida straw poll. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
File-This Nov. 3, 2011 file photo shows former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson addressing the 2011 Drug Policy Alliance conference in Los Angeles. On Tuesday, July 1, 2014 it was announced that Johnson had been named the CEO of a Nevada-based company that hopes to make medical and recreational marijuana products. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party candidate for president, addresses an audience of students and the public at Macalester College, Friday, Sept. 21, 2012 in St. Paul, Minn. Johnson, a former two-term New Mexico governor, is on a nationwide college tour as part of his campaign for president. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Republican presidential candidates, from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, prepare prior to a debate Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
FILE - In this Sept 23, 2011 file-pool photo, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson speaks in Orlando, Fla. The Libertarian Johnson is running for president a second time after winning more than a million votes in 2012. (AP Photo/Joe Burbank, Pool, File)
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson announces his plans to seek the Republican nomination for president in front of the Statehouse Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Concord, N.H. Gov. Johnson says he has the resume needed to lead the country. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, shown at the Inn of Loretto, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 1999, in Santa Fe, N.M. Insurance companies that back a ``no pay, no play'' proposal, promoted by Gov. Gary Johnson, say they would save money if uninsured drivers were barred from making big claims. Under the legislation, insurance companies would be required to file new rates taking into account their anticipated savings from the new law in August. (AP Photo/Laura Husar)
Texas Gov. George W. Bush, left, makes a joke about the first time he met New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, right, as he addresses a crowd at a barbecue June 19, 1998, in support of Johnson's re-election campaign in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson enters the Roswell Convention Center Thursday, July 3, 1997 surrounded by aliens. The governor and his family visited Roswell to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of eth Roswell incident.(AP Photo/Susan Sterner)
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Green Party candidate Jill Stein is further behind with just 2.8 percent support.

For some context, both Trump and Clinton have been hovering around 40 percent since the beginning of June and are in a dead heat as of July 31.

With the candidates from the two major parties in a tight race, voters opting for third-party candidates could have a big impact. Exactly what impact they have in November will depend on which major party those voters stray from.

The Republican and Democratic conventions, which are typically about party unity, only seemed to drive people away. Google searches for the term "3rd party candidate 2016" soared at convention time, increasing by over 1,100 percent during and after the RNC and picking back up again during the DNC as well.

A candidate needs to poll at an average of at least 15 percent in five major polls to participate in presidential debates.

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